Why should you watch The Magicians

There are a lot of fantastic shows on TV these days, led by The iron Throneand while HBO’s drama and dragon epic monopolizes the spotlight, Syfy’s magicians has quietly become one of the most entertaining shows on television. magicians returns for its third season on Wednesday, January 10. Here’s why you should watch the show.

In one sentence, what is the show about?

Harry Potter meets The Chronicles of Narnia meets the cold, harsh realities of real life, in a fantasy series based on Lev Grossman’s best-selling adult trilogy.

Tell me more.

magicians takes place in a world where magic is real, and it is taught at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. Lucky, talented and smart people are invited to take a secret magic exam to study there. It sounds like the Harry Potter books because JK Rowling was one of Grossman’s main inspirations. But the setting is where the story similarities end. The show focuses on a group of fearless magicians as they study magic and deal with the many problems the ability to manipulate reality can cause. Their narrative is thrown even further into a loop when the setting switches to Fillory, a Narnia-like magical land depicted in a series of supposedly fictional children’s books.

Who are the magicians?

One of the best parts of magicians is its large cast of misfits. While Quentin Coldwater is the main character from Grossman’s initial book in the series, the show takes a more ensemble-based approach.

Quentin (Jason Ralph) is still pretty important. He is a big Fillory fanboy who discovers that magic is real and starts hanging out with Brakebills to learn about it. Julia (Stella Maeve) is her best friend, who is rejected by Brakebills and goes down a different path to learn magic on her own. Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) is another new student at Brakebills, and she’s much better at magic than the rest. Penny (Arjun Gupta) is a traveler, a rare type of magic user who can teleport to her world and travel between other worlds. Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil) are older students at Brakebills. A wide range of teachers and other students also get in on the action.

That’s all well and good, but why should I watch?

I made it all pretty lighthearted, and that’s generally the tone of the show, which is willing to embrace magical adult college absurdity — up to and including several musical numbers from previous seasons. But magicians is not a parody. As I wrote last year, the heart of the series lies in taking a realistic approach to fantasy, grounding its characters firmly in the real world, even as they battle gods and throw spells.

Unlike the whitewashed worlds created by Rowling and CS Lewis, the characters of magicians are a diverse cast of actors portraying characters with a wide range of sexual preferences. They feel like real people with real issues, from relationship drama to more serious issues like trauma and sexual assault.

The show is also visually impressive, especially around the casting of spells. It revolves around a style of finger movements called “tutting” which adds a new visual style to the on-screen magic.

I missed the first two seasons. Can you catch me quickly?

The first season deals with most of the setup: introducing the characters, the world, and Brakebills, showing us Quentin and Julia’s mirrored journeys through their different parts of the magical world, and ending with everyone in Fillory. It also introduces the Beast, a malevolent magical being who is one of the main antagonists of the series.

Season 2 sees Quentin, Alice, Eliot and Margo crowned Kings and Queens of Fillory, and dealing with the consequences and side effects of ruling a largely medieval magical kingdom as outsiders to our modern world, which also happens although you think so. .

What should I expect in the third season?

For complicated reasons, season 2 ends with the main characters losing their magic. (Though inherently magical creatures still retain their power.) This year, the heroes deal with the ramifications while embarking on a self-proclaimed “epic quest” to retrieve it.

I’d like to heroically marathon this whole show. Where can I watch?

The first two seasons of magicians are available on Netflix. Good luck!

magicians season 3 starts on SyFy on January 10 at 9 p.m. ET.

Brian L. Hartfield